George Walford: Editorial (61)

When accumulated profits from IC reach a sufficient total your Editor sometimes indulges in a Bounty Bar – coconut inside chocolate. Some time ago these turned up in a new style of wrapper lettered, as boldly as its dimensions permitted: NEW PRICE! NEW SIZE! These claims were fully justified; they had increased the price and reduced the size. We hadn’t intended to do the same thing with IC, but this first issue at the new subscription price of £5 falls short of the standard 28 pages. A piece on planning to cope with social disasters, intended as the main feature, has been requested to present itself for appearance elsewhere. Details will be given later if it does appear, and we shall try to arrange for permission to reprint in IC. In the mean time IC 62 will be enlarged to make up for the shortfall.

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What’s wrong with systematic ideology? For one thing, indecision about the most suitable name for the ideology following Expediency in the series.

A little history is perhaps in order. Harold Walsby (d.1973), concerned to avoid rigidity and an undue degree of reification, refrained from giving individual names to the major ideologies (which he usually called ideological modes, or modes of thought). When wanting to refer to one or another of them he commonly used the philosophical positions with which they have been respectively associated: evolutionary materialism for (what is now called) the Reform ideology, dialectical materialism for the ideology of Revolution, mechanistic materialism for the ideology of Precision, and so on. In the mid-seventies a group of interested people (it did not include the editor of IC) came up with the series: protostatic, epistatic, parastatic, protodynamic, epidynamic, paradynamic, metadynamic. Although unfamiliar and at first sight rebarbative, these terms are in fact remarkably neat; they form an integrated series and go farther than seven words can reasonably be expected to do towards expressing the subtle and complex relations within the ideological system. For deeper enquiries, and especially when discussing ideologies ‘themselves’ (rather than their expression in this or that field) they offer substantial advantages. Unfortunately, they provoked complaints about the use of jargon and tended to discourage initial inquiries; they have therefore been replaced, at least in work intended for more general consumption, by the present series running from ‘the ideology of Expediency’ to ‘the Ideology of Ideologies.’

While working on this series it was suggested that adherents of the ideology following Expediency would feel ‘Domination,’ as a title for it, to carry unwelcome implications, perhaps even offensive ones. Principle also becomes influential at this point in development, so the two terms were linked to produce ‘the ideology of Domination/ Principle.’ This breaks the regularity of the series, and after a year or two for reflection (these terms were introduced in Beyond Politics, published in 1990), the aura of undesirability hanging around ‘Domination’ came to be recognised as a feature carried over from the stages of development in which this tendency undergoes repression; there is in fact no good reason to expect people who support activities which give Domination a prominent place – Conservatism, authoritarian religion and education, the law, the police and the military for examples – to object to having this noticed. No mode of behaviour is universally appropriate, but it is the critics of this ideology, rather than its adherents, who disapprove of Domination. (Its adherents do not all occupy, or even seek, dominant social positions, but they regard the exercise of Domination as the right way to run a society).

CHANGES

IC has moved. From now on our address will be: [address].

Subscriptions: As announced in IC 60, the annual subscription is now £5 or $10. Subscribers in America are asked to send cash, as this minimises bank charges.

For other publications on systematic ideology, and complete sets of IC, see back cover.

IC will in future refer to the ideology following expediency as the ideology of Domination, Principle being one appearance of this relationship – principles produce their effect by dominating behaviour.

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CORRECTION

Commenting on the review of his book From Marx to Mises in IC 60, David Ramsay Steele tells us he remains an anarcho-capitalist, although now preferring the term ‘free-market anarchist.’ The review said his book did not make the point that the market corrects even for the mere prospect of a rise in price; he draws attention to passages clearly implying that it does so when the prospect is generally agreed.

from Ideological Commentary 61, August 1993.